While many students will leave Wellesley for spring break, some will be staying on campus to catch up on work and sleep, going into Boston and spending time with friends. These students will also have to go to the grocery store, as the dining halls will be closed from Thursday, March 20 to Saturday, March 29. Although homemade food can be a nice change, students should have the option of eating in the dining halls during spring break.
Many of the students who stay in Wellesley do so because flying home or going on a trip with friends is too expensive. The only nearby grocery options are the Emporium, Roche Brothers and Whole Foods, and the cost of shopping at any of these relatively expensive stores will add up over the week and a half. In addition, students have access to kitchens in most residence halls, but not everyone has the necessary cooking supplies. Students who stay on campus often have to eat out in the Ville or in Boston. Altogether, these costs hurt students on a tight budget and limit something so basic as having enough to eat over spring break.
Wellesley College sets the contracted days of service for the Wellesley Fresh staff and considers spring break as down time. Like Wintersession, spring break does not count as part of the academic year. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is included in the number of “board days,” or the days that we pay for in the meal plan, because Thanksgiving gives students an extended weekend. For this reason, Bates Dining Hall remained open during Thanksgiving and even hosted a Thanksgiving dinner. This made it possible for students to take advantage of the meal plan and have more flexibility with regard to their budget and time. Similarly, Tower, Bates and Pomeroy remained open during fall break, due to the higher number of students that choose to stay on campus. Spring break is longer and fewer students stay behind, but the residence halls do remain open, and the needs of the handful that stay on campus should not be overlooked. Additionally, the suspension of dining hall activity during spring break has negative repercussions on dining hall employees. The dining hall staff does not get paid for a week and a half during spring break, just as it does not get paid for the weeks of Wintersession.
We are extremely thankful for the continued efforts of Wellesley Fresh staff to help Wellesley students on a daily basis. Often, the Wellesley Fresh staff lightens up our days at Wellesley in multiple ways, such as by hosting midnight breakfast during finals, making recipes from home and coming in during snow days. The staff’s commitment to serving our needs is evident, and the low number of students who stay on campus during spring break is certainly a challenge when it comes to running a dining hall. If the administration were to change the status of spring break and include it in the board days, it would considerably ease spring break for many students. Students would greatly benefit if Wellesley Fresh were to keep one of the dining halls open, perhaps with less food and even fewer hours open. In the past, students have been asked to fill out surveys about the number of days they plan to stay in residence halls, and the dining halls could follow a similar strategy for spring break.
Spring break begins tomorrow, but the administration should re-evaluate the dining hall plans for the spring of 2015 and the years to come.